Have you ever wondered what a lunar holiday is?

Would you love to learn more about lunar traditions observed by cultures other than your own?

Dark night sky with stars showing a moon in different phases along an arc Photo by Farzad Mohsenvand on Unsplash

Lunar celebrations take place at certain times of year according to the moon's cycles. People of many cultures and religions celebrate lunar holidays and observances. You've probably heard of some of them already, buthere's your chance to learn more about their origins and celebratory traditions!

1. Lunar New Year 🏮

Rows of orange paper lanterns, seen from below, and cascading up into a geometric tower. Photo by Dru Kelly on Unsplash

Lunar New Year is celebrated by many people of Asian heritage. It begins on the day of the first new moon of the lunar calendar and lasts for 15 days. Traditions vary based on country and region. Chinese New Year is one of the most well-known Lunar New Year events.

Flaticon Icon Origins

Chinese New Year has been around for thousands of years. According to Chinese legend, a terrible beast named Nian once appeared on New Year's Day. Nian was afraid of the color red, so people lit firecrackers and placed red decorations on their doors to frighten him off.

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How it's celebrated

  • People clean their houses ahead of time to ward off bad luck

  • Red envelopes containing money are given as gifts

  • Families travel to be together

  • Public celebrations include lion and dragon dances

  • The Lantern Festival occurs on the last day

Flaticon Icon Popular Foods

  • Fish

  • Rice balls

  • Good fortune fruit

  • Longevity noodles

2. Holi, The Festival of Colors 🌈

People celebrating Holi. A large crowd, hands in the air, with colorful puffs above them. Photo by Maxime Bhm on Unsplash

Holi is a national holiday in India and is celebrated by people of Hindu heritage around the world. It takes place on the day of the first full moon between February and March and celebrations last 1-2 days.

Flaticon Icon Origins

There are several legends about how Holi started including the moral story of Prahlad and Holika, the love story of Krishna and Radha, and the harvest story of spring crops.

Flaticon Icon How it's celebrated

  • Religious services are held to honor Hindu deities (gods) Lord Krishna, Goddess Radha, and Lord Vishnu

  • Bonfires are held to symbolize getting rid of bad thoughts and deeds

  • People wear white to outdoor celebrations where colorful powders and colored water are thrown around

  • Children receive new toys

  • Families gather to celebrate

Flaticon Icon Popular Foods

  • Gujiya: small pies filled with dried fruits and coconut

  • Gulab jamun: sweet donut balls soaked in rose syrup

  • Chaat: fried dough with cheese and chutney

  • Lassi: a chilled yogurt drink that comes in many flavors

Check out these Holi recipes.

3. Easter 🐣

Closeup of a bunny Photo by Waranya Mooldee on Unsplash

Easter is celebrated by Christians as a religious holiday and by many others as a spring holiday. It takes place on the first Sunday following the first full moon of spring.

Flaticon Icon Origins

Easter dates back to the time of Jesus Christ and is a celebration of the Biblical story in which Jesus is said to have risen from the dead. Essentially, it's a celebration of new life.

Flaticon Icon How it's celebrated

  • Christians attend church

  • Easter lilies are displayed in churches and homes

  • Children participate in Easter egg hunts

  • The Easter Bunny brings small gifts and candy, leaving them in a basket

  • Families gather to celebrate

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Popular foods

Check out how Easter is celebrated around the world.

4. Ramadan and Eid🌙

Photo by Rauf Alvi on Unsplash Photo by Rauf Alvi on Unsplash

Ramadan is an Islamic celebration that takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Ramadan lasts a month, beginning and ending with the appearance of the crescent moon. The holidayEid al-Fitr is celebrated on the day of the new moon!

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According to Islamic tradition, God revealed the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan to guide all people. Ramadan is a time for those of the Muslim faith to increase mindfulness and become closer to God.

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How Ramadan is celebrated

  • Daily fasting

  • Special night prayers (tawarīh prayers) at a mosque

  • Doing good works

  • Reading the Quran

How Eid is celebrated

  • Praying the Eid prayer

  • Families gather

  • The fast is broken, and sweet treats are eaten

  • Gifts are given, especially to children

Flaticon Icon Popular foods

  • Apricots and dates

  • Sweetened milk

  • Lentil soup

  • Shish kebab

  • Goash-e-feel (elephant ear pastries)


Maya recently made friends with Mohammed, who celebrates Ramadan and Eid. Mohammed has invited Maya to an Eid celebration. What can Maya do to prepare?

5. Rosh Hashanah 🍎

Sliced green apples with a bowl of honey in the middle. Photo by Igal Ness on Unsplash

Rosh Hashanah is a High Holy Day celebrated by Jewish people around the world. A celebration of the Jewish New Year, it begins on the day of the first new moon of autumn. Rosh Hashanah lasts for 2 days.

Flaticon Icon Origins

Rosh Hashanah celebrates the Biblical story of God's creation of the world. It precedes another High Holy Day that falls eight days later called Yom Kippur, a judgment day where God looks back on each person's deeds during the past year and writes the results in the Book of Life for the coming year.

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How it's celebrated

  • A synagogue prayer service is held

  • The shofar (ram's horn) is blown 100 times a day

  • Candles are lit

  • People are encouraged to do good deeds and works of charity

  • Families gather

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Popular foods

  • Sweets such as dates and honey cake, which symbolize hope for a sweet year

  • Pomegranates

  • Apples with honey

  • Challah bread

  • Fish head, as a reminder to be a leader and not a follower

Take Action

It's a great big world out there and wherever you go, chances are you'll find there's a lunar celebration to enjoy!

As you make new friends from other cultures, make it a point to get to know about their favorite holidays.

Far away shot of person stargazing Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash


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